Things to Do in Nashville

If you are planning a trip to Nashville for more than a day, you will get some useful trip planning ideas here. The suggestions are priotitized according to how many days you will be visiting.

Day 1
Embrace downtown! Hit Broadway and hop from bar to bar letting your ear be your guide. Live music starts at 11 AM and ends at 2 AM so pace yourself. Now downtown Nashville does not have a lot of local eateries-mostly chains. But the local ones are great. Have lunch at Puckett’s Grocery or Arnold’s for some great southern food. Visit the Tennessee Museum for a self-guided history lesson, or hit the Country Music Hall of Fame if you are really into country music. There are numerous attractions and tours downtown, so you will not be at a loss for things to keep you busy. Treat yourself for dinner to some ribs at Jack’s, or a fancier dinner at Merchant’s Restaurant, both on Broadway. If you are downtown on the first Saturday of the month, explore the art district on 5th and in the Arcade. The art crawl is from 6-9 PM and you can enjoy complimentary drinks and eats. It shows a different, eclectic, sophisticated side of Nashville that people don’t usually get to see.

Nashville loves its sports and is passionate about its teams. Join the excitement of a Titans, Predators or Sounds game, as well.

Day 2
Book a show at the Grand Ole Opry and head out to that part of town. This is also where Gaylord Opryland Hotel is, as well as the Opry Mills Mall and where the General Jackson cruises originate. This area of town is a little tired, with the exception of the above, because many hotels and attractions were built in the 70’s and 80’s to accommodate all the visitors to the Opryland theme park. When Gaylord plowed it down for an outlet mall (albeit a nice outlet mall) the area took a direct hit in visitor counts. Anyway it’s a safe area, but there are very few local places to eat. You would probably be better off having a meal inside the Opryland Hotel. Now if you park outside Dave & Busters at Opry Mills Mall, which is right in from of the Grand ole Opry, you can take the back path to the Opryland Hotel and avoid the $20 parking fee they charge people to park for 1-2 hours. After walking around the beautiful hotel (and it is a show stopper) you could do a little shopping at Opry Mills, splurge on a lunch cruise on the General Jackson, or hang out in the plaza area outside the Opry. People start congregating there about 2 hours before show time and they usually have some entertainment outside, if weather permits. There are food and beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) vendors on the grounds.

Day 3
Hit the Pancake Pantry on 21st in Midtown for breakfast. Arrive before 10 or be prepared to stand in line. This is a Nashville tradition. Not sure if the pancakes warrant a two hour line, but nobody seems to care. Hillsboro Village is great area of town, nestled between Vanderbilt University and Belmont University. It’s about 2 miles from downtown and is included in what people refer to as the Midtown area. After a hearty breakfast head to Belle Meade Plantation and enjoy their winery. Then,go for a stroll in Cheekwood Botanical Gardens or a hike in Percy Warner Park. You may also want to check out the Parthenon in Centennial Park where you can see the largest indoor statue in the Western hemisphere!

Then you could catch an early dinner in any of the great Midtown local restaurants (which contrary to downtown, there are endless local offerings here). Favorites are Boundry, Sunset Grill, Cabana, Jackson’s, and Bosco’s. After dinner, enjoy the local music scene with less tourists. On Division, there is Red Door, Losers, Blue Bar and Rebar. 21st has even more selections. All are within walking distance to each other and still a $5 cab ride back from downtown.

Day 4
Head south 15 miles to Franklin for the day. It has great civil war history and is so quaint and pristine. It’s listed in the “1000 places to visit before you die” handbook. It’s situated in Williamson County which always ranks in the top ten most affluent counties in the U.S. Soak up all the civil war history in downtown Franklin and meander through all the specialty stores on Main Street. Disappointingly, there is very little live music in Franklin, even though that’s where most of the country music stars live. However, you can venture to Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor (closed Sunday and Monday) or the Bungernut Pig on Columbia Ave. Head to the Factory for more unique shops, and have lunch at Saffire. Their blueberry martini is so delicious. If you want to round out your Williamson County experience, head to Kix Brooks’ winery, Arrington Vineyards for a free wine tasting. Before you go, stop by Merridee’s Breadbasket in downtown Franklin and pick up some box lunches. Arrington Vineyards has Music in the Vines, on the weekends. The rolling hills in the background are amazing.

Day 5
Recuperate! But if you really want something to do, head to Lynchburg, TN for a tour of the Jack Daniels Distillery.

Cheap Valentine’s Ideas – Budget Travel Destinations

Valentine’s Day is for everybody who has a special someone, no matter how long they have been together, and especially those who want to kindle their romantic flame. So start planning something special, and consider some unique ideas for Valentine’s Day. If you are on a budget, and looking for cheap Valentine’s ideas, then budget travel destinations could be just what you are looking for.

When it comes to a romantic getaway trip for couples, statistically couples are in favor of spending time in the south, whereas singles like to visit beach resorts. Whichever of these categories you fall into, you will definitely be able to find a way to spend Valentines on a budget.

Rio de Janeiro is one great idea for a singles’ destination for Valentines. The typical cost of hotel accommodation here is less than $85. Other possible choices, with their average room costs, are: Nashville ($114), Washington DC ($102), San Francisco ($113), and Miami ($182).

What kinds of activity might you expect for your cheap Valentines ideas trip? For the singles who enjoy the sun and sand, Miami has great stretches of beach, where you can check out everybody else’s tan. Or, you could enjoy the South Beach night clubs, or perhaps San Francisco’s chic stores, vibrant clubs or great variety of restaurant fare. Here you can snuggle up with your loved one while watching the well known romantic sunset, or maybe get to know someone new. Washington has many clubs to choose from, and 1 Street’s Eyebar is well worth a visit too. Ipanema Beach in Rio is another must for spending time in Rio de Janeiro, and here you can enjoy samba night clubs and open air bars as well. Mostly it is couples who enjoy visiting Nashville, however for singles who appreciate its music and clubs, this city is worth considering.

Savannah, Georgia is another great cheap valentines idea, because the average accommodation cost there is $84, and it’s a great spot for couples. You could also consider Montreal ($111), Bermuda ($180), or New Orleans ($135).

New Orleans’ carriage rides are a lovely romantic idea for couples, after which how about an intimate candle-lit dinner in the French Quarter, and jazz in local clubs. The south, in particular Georgia, is especially popular with couples. Have a romantic stroll in the evening, through historic streets and midnight gardens. Naples and Fort Myers also have elegant resorts and intimate inns. In addition, you can enjoy secluded beaches and nature preserves, as well as fine dining. Tourists, including couples, enjoy the Lover Key State Park’s attractions. Bermuda has beaches of pink sand and captivating little white cottages, and moon-gates of limestone made for kissing under. For nights out under bright lights, consider Montreal with its casinos, or for charming little cafes and cobbled streets, how about Vieux Port.

Married couples and singles alike who need to find cheap Valentines ideas can still have a great time on a romantic getaway this year. Make your choice now and book your trip as soon as possible, to be sure you don’t miss out.

A Different Type of Resolution: Do More Travelling

The holidays are here, and millions of Americans are going to spend a lot of money in gift giving and festivities, and probably eat far more than they had planned. And after the celebrations are over, the guilt will set in, and they’ll make all the typical New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, pay off a credit card, and lose more weight. This year, instead of tying yourself to the predictable ho-hum holiday resolutions, why not make a different kind of promise-one that will be fun to keep? Resolve to do something fun with your family and take a vacation on a luxury tour bus. Your local travel and tour bus company can help you create a resolution you will enjoy and want to keep!

The Journey is the Adventure!

Why a bus tour? When you fly, the destination is the target, skipping everything in between. However, with a bus tour, every stop is an adventure, a memory, and a chance to have fun with family and friends. The following example tour from Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana will show you just how much fun and adventure can be packed into a 10 day tour.

Day 1 – You travel from Minnesota to the famous and culturally rich town of Hannibal, Missouri. Hannibal is the historic site where Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, lived as a boy. Twain used Hannibal as the setting for his classic books, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Day 2 – On the second day of your adventure you arrive in Memphis, Tennessee. There you can tour Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll. Memphis is a town teeming with great music and phenomenal barbeque! Let your senses feast on the vast varieties of entertainment and food which is available in abundance in Memphis!

Day 3 – Today you travel to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the Siege of Vicksburg occurred, which many historians consider an important turning point in the Civil War.

Day 4 – Ever heard of Natchez Mississippi? If not, you’re in for a treat. This location is the home of the Natchez Pilgrimage tour. During this tour, you will enjoy visiting some of the 500 antebellum mansions, historic and exquisite examples of the elegance of the Old South. You will get to tour and view the beauty of these gorgeous homes and gardens and “step back in time” to a period of architectural grace and grandeur.

Days 5 and 6 – You get a professionally guided tour of Louisiana’s largest city, New Orleans. Here you can explore the French Quarter, visit the Oak Alley Plantation, board swamp boats and tour the Louisiana bayous. And don’t forget about the opportunity to dine on the phenomenal gourmet Cajun cuisine!

Day 7 – If you were visiting New Orleans on a plane, you’d spend this day in airport lines. Luckily, this is a bus tour. So you get to visit Tuscaloosa, Alabama and see the Longue Vue House and Gardens, an 18th Century Greek Revival mansion with acres of landscaped gardens.

Day 8 – Today, the only line you’ll stand in is at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, where you’ll get to see a performance you’ll never forget.

Day 9 – You will go through Indianapolis, Indiana, make a quick stop to get a “Killer Brownie” at Jonathan Byrd’s restaurant, and continue your journey before arriving at Champaign, Illinois for the night.

Day 10 – You get back home with 10 days of photos, videos, and sights, scenes and sounds that are guaranteed to create fantastic family memories that last forever! All that exposure to some of the best entertainment, food, and historic cultural destinations imaginable, and not one pat down from a TSA agent!

A Resolution You Want to Make-and KEEP!

Why join the crowd and resolve to lose 10 pounds or make promises you simply know you’ll never fully follow-up on? Make this year different and put together a resolution you want that will be absolutely enjoyable to keep! Resolve to take your family on a luxury tour bus journey they, and you, will never forget!